Sunday, April 22, 2012

Belen outsmarted by Lim and Mata?

Dagupan City Mayor Lim
Dagupan City vice mayor Fernandez
City Administrator Vlad Mata
It seems Dagupan City Mayor Benjie S. Lim and his administrator Vlad Mata outsmarted Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez and her allies at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (City Council).
When the P581 million fiscal appropriations for 2012 were deliberated, funds for the famous street dance Gilon-Gilon were ominously absent.
When the P581 million was approved by the council, the mayor asked immediately for an urgent supplemental budget of P10, 060,318.23 for the funding of the street dance (P7,750,000, or P250 thousand for each of the 31 villages for training and props) while the remaining portion of the P10 million is earmarked for the enhancement of the city’s environmental resources.
But when I met councilors Jig Sheen and Alfie Fernandez on the afternoon of April 16at the august chamber after an “angry’ vice mayor (because some councilors left the session earlier without her permission) adjourned the session, both told me that the P10 million supplemental budget requested by the mayor was already approved.
I was not surprised. Why? If I would be in the shoes of the vice mayor or the dads I would initiate for its approval pronto before the advent of the dance contest. Otherwise, that would be a death-knell for them since almost all of them (except Belen who is rumored to slug it out with Benjie in the mayoralty) are running for re-election next year.
The street dance is traditionally considered as “sacred” event by Dagupenos, and Fernandez et al would not want any part of its ‘sacrilege’.
In a press conference called by Lim at Robinson Mall in April 13, 2012 dubbed as “Kick- off @ Robinson’s Place (for the Bangus Festival)”, the vice mayor and her allies were not around.
“Was it because the presscon was not named: “Kick- Off at CSI Super Mall’s Place”? A mammoth retail store owned by the vice mayor in Dagupan City” I sheepishly asked somebody.
Instead. Lim was accompanied by loyalists councilors Brian Lim and Red Erfe-Mejia, and “wild card” dad Dr. Jess Canto (the latter is the vice mayor’s “torn in the spine” when the legislative body over-rode with two-third votes the veto of Lim last year but found themselves wanting. But Administrator Mata told me that even with Canto at the behest of the vice mayor the dads could not still muster the necessary two-third votes).
“Mabuti pa si Mayor (Mark Roy) Macanlalay sumusuporta sa Bangus Festival” a media man quipped when he saw the young mayor of the nearby Calasiao town gamely joined the two Lims at the press conference’s presidential table.
Oh, I did ask Mayor Lim with three series of questions ala CNN (Calasiao News Network). My first query: “The first salvo of the press con for the festival is held here at Robinson in an strange land called Calasiao town and not in the fortresses of our city Dagupan, would the next year’s press conference be held at the newly constructed SM-Dagupan City?”
Holy Casserole and Guacamole, the mayor just shook his head with amusement. I don’t know if he deemed my question as funny or just plain stupid.
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